We’re clearing out some trees from the front of the house in an attempt to open things up a little. Before we started we only had about 15 ft of lawn before the trees started and there were a large number of smallish pine trees that made quite a dense wall of foliage.

On previous weekends we’ve concentrated on the smaller saplings, digging out the roots to remove as much as possible. Last weekend we decided to tackle a few of the larger oaks and maples that were now accessible. I’ve been getting quite handy with a chain-saw and have cut down some fairly big dead trees elsewhere on our property so I wasn’t too worried about tackling trees closer to the house. The first few felled quite cleanly and then one got jammed on another tree at about forty five degrees. Much rope pulling and cursing ensued until we finally wrestled the thing down to ground level.

After a short break we moved onto the last tree which was pretty much upright but with a slight lean to the right looking from the house. Letting it drop that way would have risked it hitting a small ornamental tree so we decided to try to send it to the left instead - big mistake. The wedge cut went fine but nearing the end of the felling cut the tree started to lean to the right jamming the saw blade. I managed to pull the saw out of the cut and then tried to drive in a wedge to try to persuade the tree to fall the right way but even with me pushing from one side and Ali pulling from the other there was nothing we could do to shift the balance, the tree was just too big and heavy. At this point we were getting quite stressed, we had a large tree precariously balanced with only an inch strip of trunk holding it up and if it fell towards the house it would do some serious damage. The only thing to do was to finish the cut from the left hand side while pulling on the tree to make sure it didn’t fall directly onto the house. We attempted to do exactly that but the tree had other ideas, after a small amount of additional sawing the remaining trunk gave up and the tree started to fall towards the garage. It was one of those moments where the world seems to go into slow motion, even in recall it happens slowly. The upper branches of the tree hit the corner of the house and the side of the garage but amazingly the only damage was a 12in rip in a small section of vinyl siding which looks pretty straightforward to repair. Phew!